By Ed Ballard
FULL TIME: What a result for Everton, who fought Chelsea to a standstill. Chelsea wasted a ton of chances and had a couple of penalty appeals turned down, but they had plenty of chances to score. Samuel Eto’o, in particular, didn’t look himself. It remains to be seen whether he has it in him to recover the pace and ruthlessness that once made him the world’s best striker. It wasn’t just finishing, though: Chelsea looked slow, short of ideas. Everton were by no means lucky. They outfought Chelsea in the second half, weathering the storm then pegging their opponents back, and in the end looking dangerous on the break as Chelsea pushed forward in desperation. Gareth Barry was oustanding in midfield, Barkley and Mirallas magnificent going forward, but overall this was a fine team performance.
90 min+4 Chelsea have one last chance to level – Ivanovic lumps a cross towards the penalty area from the right touchline. It flies clear of danger and out of play and that’s it.
90 min +3 Osman loses his head, lashing the ball comfortably off target in a good position in the D.
90 min+2 Mirallas, who has come into his own in the last half hour with loads of space to run into, comes off for Barca’s Gerard Deulofeu.
90 min Torres can’t get a proper connection on the ball as it drops invitingly for him, 10 yards from goal. His effort flies off target.
89 min Baines clips the frame of the goal with a splendid effort from the free-kick. Cech was beaten. Naismith has come off for Stones.
88 min Barkley dribbles through, rather than around, a few Chelsea challenges. He never seems to have the ball under control but they can’t get the ball off him. Eventually he wins a free kick by poking the ball past Ramires and running into him. 30 yards out, Baines will take.
86 min Mikel is booked for a reducer on Osman. It was a reducer of such reductive power he even managed to reduce himself, and is now limping a little from the force of the collision.
84 min Oscar stops a promising Everton attack, dispossessing the accelerating Seamus Coleman with a clinical tackle. Still, it’s telling that the Chelsea attacker was tracking back. Everton fought valiantly to regain control after Chelsea started the second half looking certain to score, and now the home side are far more composed.
82 min David Luiz is booked for dragging Mirallas to the floor in the centre circle. Goodison whistles: Luiz was the last man, and he wasn’t going to catch the speedy Mirallas. Still, hard to say it was a clear chance to score. That came about from another fine piece of play from Barkley, by the way. Under pressure in his own half, decides against lumping the ball upfield and instead strokes a nonchalant pass through the middle, taking three or four Chelsea players out of the game.
80 min This is exhilerating stuff, and Everton are edging towards their first win of the season. Everton win a free-kick in a deep position by the right touchline and Baines swings the ball in towards Gareth Barry, but the cross is slightly overhit.
79 min Barkley, who’s playing a blinder, produces a couple of stepovers to make a fool of Lampard, and again tries to slide a pass through to Mirallas. Luiz makes a crucial interception on the stretch. The ball breaks for Mirallas seconds later in any case and the Belgian draws a good stop from Cech with a fierce drive from the just inside the area.
78 min Ramires burns Baines down the right, aims the ball in for Eto’o, who is yet against agonisingly close to the equiliser. But Howard does enough – just – to nurdle the ball away from his toes.
76 min Eto’o is close to forcing his way past Jagielka, who just about stands firm. Chelsea corner; Everton survive. Moments earlier, Ross Barkley was close to putting Mirallas through on goal after a quick Everton breakaway.
74 min After that brief spell of respite for Everton, with the succession of corners just as valuable for the time they used up as for the chance to add another goal, the ball is back down their end. But Chelsea still can’t work that killer opening.
72 min Chelsea defend the corner, Everton win another. Distin appeals for a penalty after a bit of pushing and shoving with Luiz. He’s having a laugh.
71 min It’s Mirallas – the ball skips off somebody in the wall and towards the bottom corner. Cech palms it out of play. A corner, and some pressure for Chelsea. Good interplay from Barkley and Coleman after the set-piece and Coleman’s cross goes out for another corner.
70 min Eden Hazard is pulled up for a foul on Mirallas, 35 yards or so out, dead centre. Leighton Baines and Mirallas himself eye it up…
69 min Cole comes off, Torres comes on, as Mourinho plays his final card.
68 min Hazard, back to Oscar, wide to Lampard, who lashes in a low cross which the stretching Ramires tries to redirect towards the near post with a toe. Side-netting.
66 min McCarthy replaces Nikica Jelavic. Mirallas moves to centre forward.
65 min Ivanovic tries his hand at the spurious penalty complaint, claiming that he was pushed away from the ball by Sylvain Distin as they leapt for a header. It’s not an aspect of the game that suits him. Still, he’s lucky to be booked for handball after the ball clattered harmlessly into him.
63 min Oscar skips infield, lets fly miles away from goal. Shouldn’t have bothered.
62 min It’s all Chelsea. But in this case, “all” means “lots and lots of build-up play”.
60 min Another disappointing afternoon for Juan Mata, then, pulled after only an hour of play. What’s Mourinho got against him? That said, he didn’t contribute all that much when he was on the pitch.
58 min Oscar is immediately involved and calls for a penalty but nothing’s given. Luiz floated a long ball towards Eto’o, who nodded it back infield towards the Brazilian. But Distin tackles – did he get the ball? – and then Osman bundles him over for good measure. I think it was a good challenge from Distin, if a risky one, but I’m not sure what Osman’s excuse was.
57 min Schurrle off for Lampard, Mata for Oscar. Here’s Jelavic doing freestyle yoga.
56 min Baines cuts infield and aims a lofted pass to Jelavic, who meets it at the penalty spot with a leaping header. He’s too far out to trouble Cech, and Mirallas, who was free to the striker’s left, yells in frustration.
55 min Chelsea are short of ideas. Mata, Cole, Ramires, Mata again – the ball just pings around the Everton half, with the ranks of the home side’s blue shirts shuttling diligently across the pitch, presenting an impassable barrier. Cole aims a speculative cross into the penalty box from the a deep postion on the left, but it’s too close to Howard and nobody’s attacking it anyway.
53 min Cropping up on the right, Hazard tries to fool Distin with a drop of the shoulder, a sudden change of direction, but the defender stands firm.
51 min It’s all happening in Everton’s half. The home side have a chance to break when Cole tries to skip between Coleman and Jagielka and loses the ball. But there’s nobody upfield within 20 yards of Coleman’s hopeful punt.
48 min Hazard’s shot is spilled into dangerous territory by Howard, and Eto’o is at hand to get a shot away. He scuffs his shot, though, and it bounces harmlessly across goal. I hope he’s just unfit, rather than past it, otherwise it’s going to be gloomy watching him this season. Imagine – him and Torres, taking turns to fall depressingly short of their former glory.
46 min Chelsea almost level with their first attack of the second half. Ramires turns Barry in the middle of the pitch and eases away from him with a few strides, then slots a pass down the inside-right channel, where Schurrle’s angled run is taking him across goal. His first touch opens up the shooting angle, but the ball bounces just the wrong side of the post.
HALF TIME: All told, an excellent half of football. Everton started energetically and have attacked with ambition whenever they have had the ball, but by the end of the half Chelsea were dominating the game. Eto’o had a couple of great chances – he would surely have beaten Gareth Barry to that tap-in after that gaffe from Tim Howard had he been fully fit – while Ramires came close and Schurrle also should have scored. Couldn’t take their chances, though, could they? Bet you Romelu Lukaku would’ve.
45 min+1 GOAL! Everton 1 – 0 Chelsea (Naismith) Brilliant goal! Barkley is the architect, showing a mixture of cleverness and strength to find a way past a couple of defenders and dig out a cross from the right of the box, aiming for Jelavic at the back post. The striker’s having trouble finding the back of the net but this is a brilliant header, taking Cech out of the picture and arcing perfectly into the path of the Scot, who has to do little more than make contact to give Everton the lead with the last move of the half.
44 min Lovely interplay between Hazard and Eto’o, thirty-odd yards from goal, before the Belgian angles a through ball through the defence for Mata on the left. He tries to float the ball over Howard into the far corner, but he’s got his angles wrong and the ball bounces out of play.
42 min In the space of about 30 seconds, three Chelsea players bung the ball the width of the pitch to a colleague on the opposite flank, keeping Everton running. Eventually the ball arrives at the feet of Mata on the left touchline, who crosses invitingly. Schurrle is the man he’s aiming for, but the German pulls up his run and the ball bounces clean through the penalty box.
40 min Mata stands over a free kick for Chelsea to the left of the penalty area, after Barry’s foul on Hazard. Ivanovic beats the defenders to his whipped ball-in, but his header flies over.
38 min Ramires surges through the middle, eventually being tackled, just about, by Jagielka in the Everton penalty area. But the ball bounces out to Schurrle, arriving at speed from the left of the box. His shot is a real shocker. He goes for the far corner but doesn’t get over the ball and it flies sails over the bar. There’s been some dreadful finishing from Chelsea so far.
37 min After a Chelsea corner, Baines’s clearance rolls straight to Luiz, who’s lurking outside the penalty area. The ball bounces through a forest of legs and out of play.
35 min Eto’o crops up on the right and is immediately more useful as a provider than he has been as a finisher. His pass infield rolls nicely to Ramires, whose first touch sets the ball up invitingly for a shot. His effort is bound for the corner of the goal but Howard, diving to his right, manages to palm the ball out of play.
33 min Barkley and Coleman combine to work the ball past Cole, and Naismith gets on the end of Coleman’s pacy cut-back. His first-time shot zings out of play.
32 min Chelsea are enjoying most of the possession now, with Everton’s energetic pressing high up the pitch calming down a little. Mikel floats a pretty feeble long-range effort into the park into the stands after a long spell of passing from the visitors.
29 min Tim Howard, what are you doing? Under minimal pressure in his own area, he aims a pass to Baines which is intercepted by – I think – Juan Mata. Mata chips the ball neatly over the keeper’s despairing lunge into the glaring hole in front of goal, where Eto’o is waiting to thump the ball into the net. Only he doesn’t get to do so, because Gareth Barry appears from nowhere and pokes the ball behind for a corner. Great play from Barry, who has started excellently, and a huge let-off for the Everton keeper.
28 min David Luiz has a very low tolerance for Lulls. He bursts through the centre and aims a raking through for Eto’o. His pass is massively overhit but never mind. That’s the spirit.
26 min This game is experiencing a Lull.
24 min Naismith turns Cole, skips to the byline and wins a corner. Distin rises for the header, can’t direct it, and appeals for another corner after the ball bounced off Luiz’s bonce and out of play. The referee indicates a goal kick.
22 min Gareth Barry expertly fouls down David Luiz just as the defender was getting up to speed with a sashaying, hair-shaking run through the centre of the park. Barry is lucky not to be booked.
19 min Mata, having disappeared for ten minutes or so after an early start, suddenly manifests in front of the Everton box. Baines gets a foot in before Mata can find Eto’o.
18 min Barkley twists and turns in front of the Everton penalty box and shapes to shoot before trying to nurdle a pass through to Jelavic, but it’s intercepted. The ball breaks to Naismith, but his shot isn’t a good one.
17 min Baines and Mirallas play a give-and-go on the left touchline to triangulate a route past Branislav Ivanovic, but the Serb recovers quickly to block Mirallas’ run. Samuel Eto’o lines up a shot and blasts the ball violently into the stands.
15 min Another chance for Everton as Barkley and Osman combine before Naismith is set free down the right. He gets the byline and wins a corner, which Chelsea defend no problem. Everton are playing with pace and directness in Chelsea’s half and half played some nice stuff in the early minutes.
13 min Massive long ball from Terry upfield to Eto’o which bounces clear out of play. Slightly over-optimistic, that one.
11 min Brilliant control from Ross Barkley midway in his own half, then even better skill to dodge between two challenges bisect the Chelsea defence with a curving through-ball. It’s cut out by Ivanovic, but only just.
8 min It’s been all Chelsea so far, but here’s a great chance for Everton on the counter attack. Ross Barkley releases Naismith, whose ball-in is perfect for Jelavic. But the striker mis-times his jump and I think his effort ultimately comes off his shoulder.
5 min A beautiful pass from Ramires gives Eto’o the perfect opportunity to open his account for Chelsea. He floats the ball into the box from the right touchline and it evades the centrebacks and plops in front of Eto’o at an attackable height. But Eto’o ca’t get his header under control.
4 min Eto’o gets his first touch in the penalty area, facing down Sylvain Distin and winning a corner by punting the balls against his shins. Luiz can’t get his head to the cross.
2 min Barry nudges the ball wide to Coleman after a Chelsea move broke down, and Coleman tries to skip past Cole. But Hazard is tracking back and makes the tackle.
1 min Everton kick off and start cautiously passing the ball around in their own half.
17.26 The tunnel at Goodison Park is really narrow, so captains John Terry and Phil Jagielka, nose to nose, are almost as close as boxers at the weigh-in. More cheerful looking though.
17.22 Another advert break.
“Woah, they’ve got a tank!” “Dayyy–um!“
Those Fast And The Furious scriptwriters really know what they’re doing.
17.16 Geoff Shreeves has bundled Roberto Martinez into a sack, driven him to a warehouse somewhere, and how he’s interrogating him fiercely. Martinez reveals that the new players have “brought in a real excitement around the place” and laments the international break, which has of course prevented his team from practising since the transfer window closed.
CURSE YOU, INTERNATIONAL BREAK!
He also reveals that Stephen Pienaar picked up a knee injury in training.
17.14 Wow, there’s a Fast And The Furious 6. Six is a lot, isn’t it? Those guys are really pushing the limits of how fast and furious it’s possible to get.
17.08 Jose’s mixed it up a bit, hasn’t he? Mata is back in the picture at Oscar’s expense. He’ll play in the hole behind Samuel Eto’o, who has jumped straight to the top of the strikers’ pecking order at Stamford Bridge. Mikel gets a start too, with Lampard on the bench. Willian doesn’t even make it to the bench.
For the home side, James McCarthy has to wait to get his first start, while Romelu Lukaku isn’t eligible to play. Rats.
16.58 Let’s have some TEAM NEWS.
Everton: Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Barry, Osman, Mirallas, Barkley, Naismith; Jelavic. Subs: Robles, Heitinga, Oviedo, Deulofeu, McCarthy, Gueye, Stones
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Cole; Mikel, Ramires; Schurrle, Mata, Hazard; Eto’o. Subs: Schwarzer, Essien, Lampard, Torres, Oscar, De Bruyne, Cahill
16.55 Afternoon. Ready for a football match? Because a football match is what’s happening next, whether you like it or not. The wheels have been set in motion and we are powerless to stop it. It’s like a war or something. Incredibly well-paid young men are lacing up their neon boots. Commentators are reciting tongue-twisters to make sure their clichés come right first time. And, in the away dressing room at Goodison Park, Jose Mourinho is eyeing a hastily-scribbled list of playmakers and mumbling the Portuguese equivalent of “ip-dip-sky-blue”* under his breath.
New Faces. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. By my reckoning, this is the second-last Premier League game (until January) where it’s All About The New Faces. We’ve seen Ozil produce his first assist; we’ve seen Fellaini do his first towering header; we’ve seen a whole squadron of new Spurs dudes.
Here’s Samuel Eto’o, king of the new faces, in action for Cameroon.
So what’s on the agenda this afternoon?
- – Does Samuel Eto’o still care about football?
- – Willian: discuss.
- – Maybe Mourinho should have kept hold of Lukaku.
- – Gareth Barry and James McCarthy. Sounds pretty solid, right?
And once we’ve exhausted all those bullet points there’s nothing left but tomorrow’s games and then Monday night – Liverpool against Swansea, Victor Moses and Alvaro Vazquez – and that’ll be it, no more novelty for us. At that point it’s no longer all about the new faces. Instead, talk will turn to the question of how well the new faces are Bedding In.